Gringo Bandito has been a must-have craft hot sauce in my fridge since I first put it on my breakfast at a cafe in Boston a couple of years ago. They have a perfect suite of sauces packed with a ton of flavor.
What I didn't know, was that it was created by the lead singer of one of my favorite bands growing up, Dexter Holland from The Offspring! I wrote Dexter a few questions to learn a bit more about the story behind Gingo Bandito.
What were your first memories and influences with hot sauce?
My influences come from growing up in Southern California being surrounded by so much great Mexican food, I developed a love and appreciation for Mexican cuisine. One of my first memories with hot sauce was noticing all the different hot sauces there are to try.
Can you share the story of how you started making hot sauce?
My passion for Mexican cuisine and culture is really what set Gringo Bandito in motion. I knew I wanted to make a hot sauce that was all-natural and with less salt than I have seen in other brands. I actually started just sorting out my favorite peppers - it was really important for me to pick peppers that give a full-bodied flavor. The first sauce I came up with was the Original Red, it took a lot of time testing several recipes until it was right.
When I first started to make Gringo Bandito I gifted it to friends and family for the holidays. I got a really positive reaction from everyone and was motivated by them to start selling it.
Do you have a favorite memory during related to your hot sauce journey?
One of my favorite memories has to be the Sabroso Festival in Dana Point where we hold the Gringo Bandito Chronic Taco Challenge. The year before last we watched world-famous eater Kobayshi beat his record by eating 159 tacos in 10 minutes in front of over 10,000 people, which was pretty awesome.
Can you share more about the SoCal hot sauce scene in your area?
There are definitely a lot more hot sauces available in my area than I have seen in other parts of the country, I think that's just due to the influence of being surrounded by such great Mexican food in Southern California.
Any advice for hobbyists that are interested in scaling and starting a hot sauce company?
My advice would be to start small. Gringo Bandito began by giving our product to local restaurants in Southern California, now the product can be found in 500 restaurants, 7,000 supermarkets and distributed across 10 different countries. We’re also finding growing success with selling the product on Amazon. Luckily for hobbyists like me, there has been a huge spark in hot sauce popularity over the past few years, hot sauce is definitely on trend right now!
Any other pieces of advice or thoughts?
A joke I often make from coming from the music business is that you can’t download hot sauce!